I’ve been visiting Malibu’s Paradise Cove cafe since the ’80s. It’s never been a sophisticated place, but I’ve always liked the ramshackle vibe. For decades it’s been serving basic blue-collar meals to Joe Schmoe family types. There are always kids running around, and almost everything you order comes with an animal-sized pile of fries. Apart from the pleasant beachside setting, the upside has always been that the food prices were generally tolerable.

Well, no longer. Now it’s an overpriced ripoff (or my idea of one). It’s still the same noisy, schlubby restaurant, but now you have to pay at least $10 or $12 more per plate than they used to charge a decade ago, and on top of that you have to pay through the nose for parking.

Earlier this evening Tatyana and I dropped by Paradise Cove for a fish-and-chips plate plus a Coke. (It was actually me doing the ordering — Tatyana refused to order out of a general distaste for the atmosphere.) When all was said and done the bill was $43 ($38 for the grub + taxes + $5 tip). And then we had to pay $10 for parking, and that was with a validated ticket — it would have been $15 if we hadn’t ordered.

53 bills to eat an oily fish-and-chips plate at a no-great-shakes, down-at-the-heels meathead restaurant with sand on the floor? There’s no way I paid that much when I last visited here, sometime around a decade ago. Right now everything on the menu costs at least $10 or $12 more than it should. Tonight’s tab should have been $30 or $35, all in.

I don’t mind paying top dollar for an elegant eating experience at a place like Angelini Osteria on Beverly or Giorgio Baldi in Santa Monica Canyon, but I expect lower pricing at a mongrel family joint like the Paradise Cove cafe.

The profit-hungry parties are Paradise Cove owners Bob and Kerry Morris.